Conquering Identity and Access Challenges Amid the IoT Boom

With so many Internet of Things devices in use throughout the world, it's vital to manage identities and access during a company's digital transformation.
Published: October 27, 2019

Managing identities and access during digital transformation is the key to a seamless user experience, as well as security, governance and audit at scale. However, the challenges for identity-driven security across all devices creates complex challenges, especially since IDC forecasts that there will be approximately 41.6 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices producing nearly 79.4 zettabytes of data by 2025. This looming boom of connected things will create several opportunities for organizations across all industries.

Enterprises looking to capitalize on this opportunity will be challenged with milestones such as building new and existing profiles for customers across all channels and complying with data privacy regulations. Organizations must step up to these challenges by providing the appropriate access to all services while maintaining control and enforcing security, but that is much easier said than done. Companies that fail to rapidly adapt and scale in the accelerating data-driven world will be outpaced by competitors that do.

Onboard New and Progressively Profile Existing Customers
Building new and existing consumer profiles is critical, as users will be able to access an organization across a myriad of touchpoints. Organizations must create an omnichannel experience to scale with this proliferation of connected things in order to know their customers across all devices. They must also be able to consolidate the identities of users and their devices to create a unified customer profile across all digital channels by connecting previously siloed lines of business. This will ensure every customer interaction is consistent and personalized.

Then, there must be a method in place to onboard new customers quickly, such as using social registration and sign-on to allow a user to quickly create an account. From there, enterprises can progressively build user profiles over time in exchange for value-added offerings. For example, Hulu will ask new users questions to find out what genres of TV shows and movies they enjoy. Based on their responses, Hulu can then make recommendations for additional media they may like. Hulu will continue to build users’ profiles as they interact with the service, enriching the profiles over time.

Adhere to Data Privacy Standards
To make these challenges even more difficult, organizations need to comply with differing data privacy laws across all verticals and geographical areas. For example, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which will be enacted in January 2020, will allow California citizens the right to take action against companies that fail to secure their data. To address these identity and access challenges, organizations will be leveraging swathes of employee and user data, so it is critical that companies have security strategies to thwart malicious activity that can result in data exposure on a mass scale.

Companies that wish to seek the full-fledged business benefits that will come with the looming boom of IoT devices must do so by conquering these identity and access challenges. The key to doing so lies with a company’s ability to leverage customer, employee and device digital identity. By assigning a set of attributes to each entity, organizations will recognize the benefits of being able to seamlessly manage identity across all channels.

As a result, customers and employees will be able to engage with the organization from any device, anywhere in the world, with a consistent and personalized experience every time. Companies will also be able to use this information in tandem with an identity platform to continuously protect against risk-based threats and close the IoT security gap with contextual security, open standards and scales to meet IoT-level demands and comply with differing data privacy regulations.

Eventually, organizations will be able to create new revenue streams by assigning digital identities to hundreds of millions of users and their connected things. However, it is up to each individual enterprise to recognize that the number of connected things will exponentially increase, and take the initiative by harnessing the power of digital identity.

Ben Goodman is a CISSP and the senior VP of global business and corporate development at ForgeRock. Prior to joining ForgeRock, Goodman was the lead evangelist of end-user computing for VMware, and before that the chief strategist of identity and security at Novell.